Life As We Know It by P-SimonSchuster

VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 6

More Info
									Life As We Know It
Editor: Jennifer Foote Sweeney
Table of Contents

ContentsFOREWORD Jane SmileyINTRODUCTION Jennifer Foote SweeneyTHE CALCULUS OF
LOVEPluses and MinusesTHE COLOR OF LOVE Erin Aubry KaplanSAUCY SOCCER MOMS Matthew
DeBordDERANGED MARRIAGE Sridhar PappuFORESKIN AND SEVERAL YEARS FROM NOW Kim
LaneWHILE YOU ARE GONE Stephen J. LyonsCRYSTAL IS THE CUSTOMARY GIFT -- I GOT DOG
DROOL Susan MusgraveMEATMARKET.COM Heather HavrileskyIF AT FIRST Diana O'HehirLOST AND
FOUND Eve ParnellMultiplicationHUSTLING HORMONES Carol MithersREPRODUCTIVE AS A RABBIT,
ABSTINENT AS A NUN Jennifer Bingham HullWE BELIEVE CHILDREN AREN'T THE FUTURE Lori
SteeleI MISS LESBIAN REPRODUCTIVE SEX Laurie EssigPICKING MR. RIGHT Liza Weiman HanksMY
SEEDS ARE SPROUTING IN TWO WOMBS Hank PellissierPOST-NUCLEAR FAMILY LIFEThe
'RentsLOVE ME, LOVE MY GUNS Susan StraightHARD-TO-SWALLOW SOUP FOR A KID'S SOUL
Callie MiltonON BEING KEN Tim CornwellHE AIN'T HEAVY Lisa ZeidnerDYR MOM: WY R YOU SO
LAVEABL? Gayle BrandeisTHE NEW DAD Jonathan KronstadtThe RearedEVERYTHING FALLS Jill
KettererMY BROTHER'S KEEPER Chris ColinBORN TO POP PILLS Elissa SchappellIDENTITY CRISIS
Theresa Pinto ShererA HERO'S RETREAT Margaret FinneganWORLD WITHOUT ENDLossFAITH IN THE
BABY Kristin OhlsonASPIRIN FOR A SEVERED HEAD Suzanne FinnamoreISLE OF SKYE Mary
McCluskeyA WORLD OF HURT Earl R. MiesA MOTHER WITHOUT A CHILD Robin WallaceA MATTER
OF LIFE IN DEATH J. B. OrensteinRemembrancePAPA DON'T PREACH Benjamin CheeverCURSE OF
THE HIPPIE PARENTS Sarah BeachSUPPLICANT Kathryn HarrisonMY FOUR FAVORITE PHOTOS OF
MY MOTHER Amy BloomBEING FROSTY JR. David VernonMY FATHER'S LEGACY George
PackerSENTIMENTAL HOGWASH Douglas CruickshankAUTHOR
BIOGRAPHIESACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Description

"...these essays are jewels of the unexpected, and in introducing them, I don't want to steal any of their
surprise. Suffice it to say that family life...is alive and well, but it is not like anything you ever read about
before in your life."-- Jane Smiley, from the forewordThe nuclear family peaked in 1960 with 45 percent of
the American population. Many decades later, the tidy ensemble is rare. Relationships, baby making,
sex, dating, divorce -- they aren't what they used to be. But the mainstream media keeps the reality of
American life a secret, only leaking the occasional tidbit to remind us that those in "unconventional"
configurations are a sad anomaly to be pitied or ignored.Life As We Know It offers proof in its most
engaging form -- the personal essay -- that the big guys have got it wrong. This collection of blunt, lyrical,
and often very funny work from award-winning Salon.com tells the true stories about how we live -- of
hustling fertility drugs, losing a child, hating dad, and coming to terms with a parent who was the voice of
"Frosty the Snowman" on TV. First-time writers and critically acclaimed authors like Amy Bloom,
Kathryn Harrison, Susan Straight, and Benjamin Cheever, plumb the familiar to deliver portraits of
moments, seasons, and eras that we recognize or long to understand.
Excerpt

From: Pluses and MinusesTHE COLOR OF LOVEErin Aubry KaplanTwo years ago, if anyone had asked,
I would have said that I would probably never marry. I had nothing against the institution, but by my
middle thirties I had come to believe that the marriage I'd always imagined might never happen. I didn't
find this tragic; I found it liberating. Not getting married meant absolution from a number of entanglements
I could do without -- a deadwood relationship, compromised living space, the halfhearted internal debate
about whether to have babies. While I embraced the idea of marriage, I embraced solitude in equal
measure. I found a certain elation in the prospect of a future in which I could allow my emotions and
shoe-buying impulses to run free. At age thirty-seven, my desire for freedom seemed to have neatly
trumped my yearning for anything, or anyone, else. And that was fine with me.In this rare state of
contentment, I met Alan Kaplan, who was forty-three and in a state of extreme discontent. We met at his
house on a Sunday afternoon, though he didn't want to meet me at all, let alone on a weekend. He was a
white public high school teacher who had become the epicenter of a racially charged controversy at his
campus. Because I am a journalist with a particular interest in matters of racial justice, I had been
enlisted by an irate group of black parents at the school, and subsequently by my paper, to do a story
about it.According to the parents pushing the story, Kaplan was guilty of racial impertinence. (These
parents hoped that, as a black woman, I would be sympathetic to their viewpoint.) They said he was
intellectually arrogant in a white-privilege sort of way, eager to overwhelm his black students' frail sense of
self-esteem by, among other things, extending the discussion of slavery to issues of latter-day
segregation in his classroom. Kaplan insisted that the system failed black and white students alike, and
asked his students to confront the racial achievement gap in his classroom and to question why teachers
have different sets of expectations for black and white students.The parents felt that identifying latter-day
segregation was not his business or his purview. According to them, Kaplan's insistence that he was only
trying to do the right thing was merely a cover for the fact that he was improperly fixated on race -- he had
issued himself a street-gang name, K-Dawg, and even dated black women. "You know the type," the
leader of the parent group said meaningfully, and a bit wearily.I did. This also was not the first I'd heard of
Kaplan or his exploits: my younger sister, Heather, had been his student in the 1980s and had
complained regularly about his intransigence. Many of her complaints, I vaguely recalled, had to do with
race. Heather's an attorney now, and when I asked her whether she thought Kaplan had been racist, she
argued vehemently with herself for about ten minutes before giving something of an answer."He was
harder on black students than on other students," she said. "He definitely had issues about race, and he
wasn't always diplomatic about expressing them. And he'd get mad with me because he felt I was
squandering my potential, not living up to myself. I don't think that was racist per se."I thought of all this
as I rang Kaplan's doorbell one Sunday in April. Yet I was more than willing to get his side of the story. I
was also intrigued: What sort of white man would keep pushing the racial envelope in this day and age?
He was either exceedingly honest or exceedingly boorish, or both. In spite of everything, I had liked...
Author Bio
Jennifer Foote Sweeney
Jennifer Foote Sweeney was a correspondent in the Los Angeles and London bureaus of Newsweek, a
national writer for Newhouse News Service, and a reporter for metropolitan newspapers before becoming
editor of Life at Salon.com. She lives in northern California with her husband and two daughters.<br/>

								
To top